Ft. Hood:
Soldiers Turned by Policy into Targets



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By Kurt Hofmann, April 5th 2014
JPFO writer contributor, © 2014.

Image Oleg Volk

The news of the shooting at Ft. Hood Wednesday evoked powerful and very personal memories. On October 27, 1995, I was stationed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, as an artilleryman with the 82nd Airborne Division. That day, my brigade became the "alert" brigade--the one on tap to jump into a hot spot (Bosnia was the big concern at the time) if that were needed. As a kind of motivational and unit cohesion-building measure, on the day a brigade assumes alert status, the unit was to do the morning run as a whole, rather than the usual practice of morning PT (physical training) at the company level.

Just as we began the run, a mentally disturbed sergeant opened fire on us from the treeline, killing Major Mark Stephen Badger with his first shot, and then continuing to fire, apparently without regard to specific soldiers as his targets.

That ended up being 18 additional targets, all of whom survived, although one was paralyzed.

And we, the supposedly elite paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division, ran like frightened rabbits, because in a "gun-free" zone, the armed predator is king. Granted, the killer was eventually disarmed by courageous unarmed soldiers, but they flanked and surprised him, and they, being Special Forces troops, were far more capable than most of us at overcoming the enormous disadvantage of being unarmed. If there are not enough military police around to stop a killer before he can strike, there are certainly not enough Green Berets.

And now once again, "gun control" has claimed a fresh harvest of victims on a military installation. Once again, America's fighting men and women have been converted to dying men and women, courtesy of a policy that robs them of the means to fight back effectively against those who want them dead. Once again, a policy-mandated "gun-free" zone was instead a "defense-free" zone. Once again, the killer was stopped only when he met armed resistance--precisely the kind of resistance that policy ensured his victims would be unable to put up.

So now we add three more to military "gun- free" zones' body count, and we must consider ourselves fortunate that this new addition to the death toll was not much higher. Sergeant Danny Ferguson died in the process of saving untold lives by barricading a door with his own body, blocking the killer's access to a room packed with potential victims. Unarmed, Sgt. Ferguson resisted in the only manner he could. His courage was enough to save many, but courage, unsupported by lifesaving firepower, was not enough to save his own life.

This lesson will without doubt go unheeded in the Pentagon. Well, "unheeded" might not be quite right. According to the Washington Post, the last high-profile shooting on Ft. Hood inspired a more restrictive mandated defenselessness policy, as if these lessons are not just unheeded, but actively spat upon:

On Fort Hood, the restrictions on personal weapons were expanded in the wake of the 2009 massacre and an epidemic of suicides on post, which is the largest active-duty armored post in the country. Current policy requires soldiers to register their own personal weapons with their commanders and to keep those weapons in the arms room.

Let's take a look at Ft. Hood's policy (emphasis in original):

**PRIVATELY OWNED FIREARMS- If you are in possession of a Privately Owned Weapon you MUST stop at the Fort Hood Visitor Center BLDG 69012 prior to entering the installation to register your firearm (s). NO EXCEPTIONS !!!!!

Wow -- two asterisks, red font, liberal (no pun intended) use of all caps, and quintuple exclamation points. Clearly, they're pretty serious about this.

And somehow, even that failed to deter the killer. Puzzling. Presumably, the leadership at Ft. Hood, and maybe the Pentagon, is exploring options. Maybe a larger font, bold type, underlining, and a few more exclamation points. That should do it.

Whatever Ft. Hood does to make their "gun free" policy more stridently explicit, they will only be advertising more loudly that mass murderers are likely to have plenty of time to inflict their carnage.

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